Last Thursday, December 12, 2014, Southwest Airlines filed applications with the US Department of Transportation requesting approval to serve six destinations in Latin America with new, daily, nonstop service from Houston Hobby Airport. After receiving US government approval of the new service, Southwest will begin selling these flights at Southwest.com, offering travelers nonstop options between Houston Hobby and four destinations in Mexico — Cancun, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, and San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos — as well as flights to San Jose, Costa Rica, and Belize. Service to Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City, adds a second Central American destination to the Southwest route map.
The new Houston flights will be made possible by the completion of an estimated $156 million, five-gate international concourse now under construction at Hobby. The completed project will increase capacity for all airport functions and add a Federal Inspections Services facility to streamline US Customs and Border Protection screening and baggage processing for arriving international passengers.
"We're building our first-ever international terminal project to give Houstonians, visitors to Houston, and our connecting customers exceptional value and legendary customer service in international markets," said Kelly. "Service to Mexico will be the cornerstone of our international operation at Hobby and the four cities we are announcing today provide exciting travel and business options for consumers. Adding Belize to the Southwest network and growing our Costa Rica service continues our expansion to international destinations where our people and consumer-friendly policies can deliver as no other airline can."
The "Houston Hobby International Terminal Project" will add five new gates, enabling scheduled international service. Southwest is working in conjunction with the city of Houston, which is preparing for the new facility with surrounding infrastructure improvements including a new parking facility, central utility plant and roadway improvements throughout the Houston Hobby Airport district. A study conducted by "Houston Airport Systems" estimates the project would add 10,000 jobs to the region and provide a $1.6 billion impact annually to the local economy. The study also expects the expanded facility to bring an additional 1.6 million air travelers each year.
Southwest says its service to Puerto Vallarta should begin in October 2015, pending regulatory approvals.Original Story